From Metropolis to Main Street, Light Pole Banners Enjoy Increasing Popularity As Outdoor Promotion

When Hershey Park, an amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania, planned the celebration of their 100-year anniversary, they chose light pole banners, as part of the marketing mix. The town-wide celebration will include a re-dedication of the park, 100 days of music, entertainment and fireworks and the unveiling of a new attraction, the Boardwalk at Hershey Park.

"Over seventy pole banners are prominently displayed in the parking lots and on the kiss-shaped light poles that line Chocolate Avenue, the main thoroughfare through the community," according to Don Rhoads, Print Buyer, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company. "We used two styles of banners: one style marks the 100-year anniversary of the Hershey's Kiss, and the other marks the 100-year anniversary of Hershey Park. This is the first time we have used pole banners along Chocolate Avenue, and we are quite pleased with the results."

In St. Louis, the advertising agency of Maring | Weissman developed a campaign for the Gateway Arch. In a departure from the usual practice of multiple pole banners that are all identical, the banners in this campaign highlight the different activities available inside the Arch and at nearby Arch venues including the Historic Old Courthouse and Riverboats.

Says Beth Marti-Maxwell, Production Manager, Maring | Weissman: "We designed different banner pairs highlighting all of the Arch attractions one can enjoy, including Riverboat rides, the Museum of Westward Expansion, movies, the museum gift shop, bicycle rentals, air tours, the Historic Old Courthouse and, of course, rides to the top of the Arch."

Banners were installed near the Historic Old Courthouse, on the Arch grounds and at the RV/bus parking lot near the Riverfront. Explains Marti-Maxwell: "When tourists visit, they may be unaware of all the activities available at the Arch. The banners not only increase awareness of visitors' options, they also improve the aesthetic appeal of the Arch grounds and surrounding area."

Design options for light pole banners are expanding too. "The old pole banners had a more graphical representation of the attractions," Marti-Maxwell says. "The new banners use photographic images, and we also incorporated a free-flowing flap at the bases of the signs, which gives them movement and adds visual interest."

Cultural institutions are not alone: From major metropolitan cities to small town America, municipalities are finding new and innovative ways to use pole banners. The small town of Petersburg, Virginia is a perfect example.

Says Joe Rauchi, Systems Administrator and Webmaster for the City of Petersburg: "We did a banner campaign for our downtown area three or four years ago featuring a graphic of the courthouse. Downtown businesses contributed to the cost in exchange for a listing on the pole banners. The campaign was not as successful as it could have been for a couple of reasons: first, the colors were too muted to read well from the street.

Second, there were too many banners---one on every single light pole---and the effect was cluttered. We learned from that experience. With this current campaign for the Jamestown Festival, the color palette is bolder and we only mounted banners at the corners. There are three banners per pole, angling out like the blades of a fan, so that there is a clear view of the banner regardless of which direction one approaches the intersection from," says Rauchi.

"After the Jamestown event is over, those pole banners will be replaced with seasonal banners, since the brackets are already in place. We are so pleased with the results that on my computer screen right now, I have designs for a pole banner campaign to signal the renovation of a municipal pool. We will also, of course, be doing pole banner campaigns to promote future events. The plan is to install series' of banner campaigns, all in the same format, with the same scalloped flap detail at the bottom, with the goal of creating a cohesive brand for the municipality and the downtown area in particular," concludes Rauchi.
Ferndale, Michigan had a different goal: Every year, Woodward, Michigan hosts the Woodward Dream Cruise, the world's largest one-day celebration of car culture, attracts more than 1 million visitors and more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles. Cruisers and spectators travel up and down a 16-mile stretch of legendary Woodward Avenue through the nine communities of Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac and Royal Oak. The city of Ferndale wanted to capitalize on this exposure. An area in transition, and the next community in line in terms of gentrification, Ferndale uses pole banners as a means of promoting itself as a desirable place to live.

For Suzanne Lee of That Color, it was her company's first pole banner project. "We worked with Commerce Color, a grand and large format printer headquartered in St. Louis," says Lee. "The pole banners, which needed to be clearly visible from a long distance, were eight feet high. Our plotters are not big enough to print at that scale. Since it was my first project of the kind, we had Commerce do a sample for the client to approve. The quality was excellent and I am very pleased with how everything went," says Lee. "The pole banners, which were a vibrant blue, stood out for miles. It was a very good experience all the way around and I am prepared to do more."

Tom Croghan, Vice President, Sales / Marketing for Commerce Color, couldn't agree more. "We have seen a swell in our pole banner business in recent months," notes Croghan. "With their low cost, high impact, almost endless applications and expanding design options, it's safe to say this is an outdoor advertising trend that is here to stay."

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Commerce Color is a large and grand format digital printing company specializing in custom light pole banners, wallscapes and building wraps, digital wallpaper, event signage and a wide assortment of custom vinyl banners. Commerce Color helps companies communicate their message to their audience in a big way. We use the best available materials, utilize up-to-the-minute technologies and provide unparalleled service to our customers nationwide, making us a leader in the large and grand format printing industry.

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